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Morning Sun
  • Winds whip through the county

  • High winds and powerful storms moved through Crawford County on Monday night, leaving a trail of uprooted and broken trees, downed power lines and damage in its wake.

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  • High winds and powerful storms moved through Crawford County on Monday night, leaving a trail of uprooted and broken trees, downed power lines and damage in its wake.
    Many were without power following the powerful storm, from Arma to Chicopee, Frontenac to Cherokee. Electricity was slowly restored at many locations throughout the night.
    National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Foster said wind speeds hitting Crawford County were likely in the range of 60-70 mph and was likely not tornadic.
    “At this time, it’s likely most everything, if not everything, is straight-line winds,” Foster said.
    Crawford County Sheriff Dan Peak said that his deputies did not see any sign of tornadoes, and that the damage was fairly consistent throughout the county, all consistent with straight-line winds.
    “We followed a path from Cherokee northeast into the Frontenac area, then right up into Mulberry and Arcadia with reports of limbs and trees down. We have a general idea of the path the heaviest part of the storm took,” Peak said.
    Trees seemed to be down everywhere, which Foster said were common throughout the NWS region, which is based in Springfield, Mo. With an already saturated soil and trees now with full leaves, the soil gives way more easily and often, causing significant tree damage.
    While tree damage and downed power lines may be the most common sign of damage, among the worst damage took place at Spicer Adams Welding on Fourth Street.
    Owner Larry Adams, whose uncle built the building in the mid- to late-1940s, said that the front overhead door of his building was the first to go, which then gave the high winds access to the interior of his building. The western wall of the building crumbled, and the roof has a few issues of its own.
    More than a dozen of Adams’ friends and colleagues showed up at the scene to help put a protective tarp on the building before nightfall. Adams said there was only one reaction to the scene when he arrived.
    “It must be time for me to retire,” Adams said.
    Just down the road, at Schlanger Park, there was plenty of damage as well. Pittsburg Parks and Recreation Director Kim Vogel estimates 65-75 percent of the trees sustained heavy damage.
    “It’s pretty extensive at Schlanger,” Vogel said. “There’s power lines down, there’s standing water. We just ask for patience from the citizens as we clean this up. It will just be clean-up for the next few weeks.”
    Immediately after the storm and before nightfall, many residents made their way to the park to take photos or were like Katie McFall and just saw the devastation while driving by.
    “It’s just damage. It looks like a war zone out here,” McFall said. “This is our park. No words can express this. This is awful. It was total shock going by and seeing what happened.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Later Monday evening, crews closed down Schlanger Park, and recreation superintendent Sara Mitchell said that’s for a reason.
    “Schlanger Park is closed due to the weather and severe damage. The park has several downed trees and a power line down that is unsafe,” Mitchell said.
    Beyond that, Peak said there was a report of heavy damage to a barn east of Pittsburg and a couple of houses in that vicinity also received some minor structural damage.
    From a law enforcement standpoint, Peak said he was actually fairly pleased with the immediate response at the sounding of storm sirens.
    “The community really took it to heart. I didn’t know if it had to do with what occurred earlier in the day with Moore [Okla., where a mile-wide tornado killed at least 51, including 20 at an elementary school],” Peak said. “There was no hesitation in taking shelter. They heeded our advice and took shelter.”
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